October 28, 2012

Business briefs: Oct. 28, 2012


---- — Designation received

PLATTSBURGH — Courtney E. Chandler has been awarded the professional insurance designation Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) by The Institutes, according to Peter L. Miller, CPCU president and chief executive officer.

The Institutes are an educational organization that confers the CPCU designation on people who complete eight rigorous courses and examinations and meet its ethics and experience requirements. All CPCUs are required to maintain and to improve their professional knowledge, skills and competence through their commitment to The Institutes’ CPCU Code of Professional Conduct.

The CPCU professional designation is internationally recognized as the property-casualty insurance and risk-management industry’s premier credential. Those who hold the CPCU designation are among an elite group of professionals who are dedicated to serving their clients, customers and industry.

Chandler is currently the personal lines manager for Agency Insurance Brokers Inc., whose main office is located at 41 Broad St. Agency Insurance also has offices in Saranac Lake, Keeseville, Ticonderoga and Rouses Point.

Chandler is a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. Prior to completing her CPCU, she achieved various other insurance designations including Associate in Personal Insurance (API), Associate in Insurance Services (AIS) and Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI).

The designation was formally conferred at a ceremony in New Orleans on Oct. 26. The conferment will be held in conjunction with the CPCU Society Annual Meeting and Seminars.

Manager named

PLATTSBURGH — Catherine A. Steele has been named branch manager of the Margaret Street Office in Plattsburgh, according to Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Co.

Steele joined Glens Falls National as a teller in 1997. She has more than 20 years of banking experience.

Active in the community, Steele participates in the Heart Walk, March of Dimes and Relay for Life. She is a graduate of Beekmantown Central High School.

Seafood labeling

PLATTSBURGH — Concern is growing nationwide that restaurants, seafood markets and supermarkets are selling mislabeled seafood. Consumer Reports found that 18 percent of seafood samples its researchers collected from retail stores and restaurants on the East Coast last year were mislabeled. And, a recent Boston Globe investigation found that 48 percent of the fish collected from Boston restaurants, seafood markets and grocery stores was sold with the wrong species name.

To provide verifiable assurances for its customers, Price Chopper Supermarkets has commissioned a voluntary test of its seafood stock. The objective report’s conclusion confirmed that 100 percent of the fish tested was properly labeled.

Verification is being provided by Therion International, a company based in Saratoga Springs, to which Price Chopper voluntarily submitted more than 150 randomly selected samples from 15 different fish product lines for testing. In 2004, Therion was the first commercial laboratory to provide DNA-based testing services to verify seafood species identity. Past and present customers have included Bonefish Grill, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Oceana, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun Times and many others.

“Price Chopper came to us to develop a testing protocol to help them reassure their customers about their labeling and the quality of their seafood,” said William F. Gergits, managing member of Therion International. “Our tests found not one incidence of mislabeling.”

Other studies of both restaurants and retail food merchants have found that red snapper and white tuna were among the most commonly mislabeled seafood. Both were tested in the Price Chopper study and were found to be labeled appropriately. News reports cite one of the most common reasons that restaurants, wholesalers and retailers mislabel seafood is simply to make more money. It is more profitable to sell a less expensive fish for one that could cost significantly more, especially if consumers may not notice the difference.

New business

SARANAC LAKE — Adrienne Relyea has opened a new business, Little Red Marketing, in Saranac Lake.

“Opening Your Door to Social Media” is the tag line of this new company, which is branding itself with a bright red door.

“Managing social media is a much needed service in this community, a lot of our business owners just don’t have the time to properly market themselves,” Relyea said. “We are very affordable and can put a custom monthly package together for any business that works within their budget.”

She also offers services for promoting events and marketing and promoting all year long for a set fee.

For more information, email, call 637-6716, find them on Facebook or visit

Capacity expanded

LAKE PLACID — Consumers and businesses in Essex County are expected to experience improved mobile Internet coverage and voice performance as a result of continued investment and innovation by AT&T. The company has completed a key initiative in its ongoing efforts to enhance the wireless capacity and performance of its mobile Internet network in Lake Placid.

“Every wireless network enhancements means better economic opportunity and improved communication here in Essex County. AT&T understands the uniqueness of our region and the community is thankful for their continuing local investments,” said Sen. Betty Little, (R) Queensbury.

The network enhancement adds new layers of frequency, also known as “carriers,” to cell sites in Essex County to more efficiently manage available spectrum and increase mobile broadband capacity. The expansion helps manage ever-growing demand for mobile Internet services by allocating more network resources for AT&T’s mobile Internet network.

“As part of the Adirondack Park community we’re always looking for new opportunities to provide an enhanced customer experience, and our investment in the local wireless network is just one way we’re accomplishing that,” said Marissa Shorenstein, president AT&T New York. “We’re working to build a 4G network that’s smarter and better to provide our customers with a superior mobile Internet experience.”

Ambassador program

PLATTSBURGH — Out of a pool of more than 800 applications received nationwide, Jennifer Vliege, vacation specialist for Touraid Travel Inc., has been named as one of 96 Travel Impressions Ambassadors for their newly launched program and will act as a brand advocate for Touraid Travel through September 2013. 

Vliege has been selected by Travel Impressions and Touraid Travel to participate in this program based on her booking history with Touraid Travel via Travel Impressions, personal experience and knowledge, agent enthusiasm and passion, and communication skills and a willingness to share content through social media.

Travel Impressions will support Vliege by collaborating on innovative promotions, generating public-relations efforts, creating buzz among consumers to drive business to ambassadors, helping to promote ambassador status, and providing exclusive social media education opportunities.

“I’ll be happy to fulfill the ambassador duties to the best of my ability,” Vliege said, “and hopefully in the process help generate some attention as a loyal agent here at Touraid.” 

Travel Impressions is one of the nation’s largest leisure tour operators, offering vacations to more than 200 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Canada and the U.S. The newly launched Travel Impressions Ambassadors Program awards top travel agents the opportunity to represent and promote eight of Travel Impressions’ leading resort and destination partners including All-Inclusive Hard Rock Hotels, AMResorts, Atlantis Paradise Island, Cancun Mexico, Excellence Group Luxury Hotels and Resorts, Palace Resorts and Le Blanc Spa Resort, Sandals and Beaches Resorts, and The Island of Aruba.

For more information, call 563-5605 or e-mail

Scholarships offered

TICONDEROGA — The Ticonderoga Federal Credit Union (TFCU) is again offering local high-school seniors the opportunity to win several scholarships toward tuition at a two- or four-year accredited college.

TFCU student members will be competing with high-school students from credit unions statewide for $1,000 Credit Union Association of New York awards. In addition, they will be competing regionally within the Adirondack District for a $500 scholarship and locally among TFCU members for $500 scholarships. Three $500 TFCU scholarships were awarded in 2012.

To be eligible, students must be college-bound high-school seniors at the time of application, attending college for the first time in the fall of 2013, and members of the Ticonderoga Federal Credit Union.

Applicants will be judged based upon their academic achievements, extracurricular and community activities and the quality of a written essay. Applications will be judged by representatives of the New York State Credit Union League located in Albany, and winners will be announced in the second quarter of 2013.

Applications are available at Ticonderoga Federal Credit Union’s home office at 1178 NYS Rt. 9N, Ticonderoga, and at their branch locations at 43 Meacham St., Port Henry, and 7519 Court St., Elizabethtown. Applications and instructions may also be printed from the credit union’s website at Applications must be returned to any TFCU office, ATTN: Pamela Nolan, no later than Jan. 18, 2013.

For more information, visit a TFCU office or contact a member service representative at 585-6725.

Health awards

PLATTSBURGH — Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) is reminding the community that the deadline for the next round of Community Health Awards is Thursday. 

Community Health Awards are grants of up to $4,000 to nonprofit organizations for programs that improve the health and wellness of the community. Awards are made in January and July each year. Since their inception in 2000, more than 300 awards have been made totaling nearly $730,000.

For organizations interested in applying for this award cycle, the application can be found at in the Utica Regional News section on the News & Information page or by emailing Applications received after the Nov. 1 deadline will be held for the next award cycle.

Tickets available

PLATTSBURGH — The North Country Chamber of Commerce invites everyone to the most delicious event of the year. Taste of the North Country will be held on Nov. 8 at the SUNY Field House.

This event combines a food-and-beverage tasting experience with an auction. The auction preview begins at 5 p.m. followed by the silent auction and tasting from 5:30 to to 7 p.m. Auctioneer Steve Brodi and master of ceremonies Don Duley will cap off the evening with the live auction at 7.

Tickets to Taste of the North Country are $12 per person before Nov. 1 or $18 after. Sponsored by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Worlco Management Services and the Mohawk Bingo Palace/Akwesasne Mohawk Casino, this event is open to everyone. Those under 21 must be accompanied by an adult.

Call the chamber at 563-1000 or visit to purchase tickets.

Grant received

PLATTSBURGH — The Champlain Children’s Learning Center recently received a $7,000 grant from the UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of UPS.

The grant will be used to purchase new cribs for their infant room as crib safety standards have recently changed, making their old cribs obsolete at the end of the year. It will also help with renovations to a new school-age classroom along with furniture and supplies for the school-age and pre-kindergarten classrooms. These upgrades are necessary because the center recently expanded to take on a second pre-kindergarten group and increased its school-age capacity by 10 children.

CCLC is a non-profit childcare center that also contracts with Northeastern Clinton Central School to provide the pre-kindergarten program. The center provides care for 117 children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. The expansion was necessary to accommodate children displaced when a local private school closed. Both areas came up suddenly and were not originally in the budget for the year. By receiving this grant, the expenses associated with both projects are covered, preventing CCLC from having to make cuts to other areas.

“As a non-profit agency, every penny counts. When you have unexpected expenses, such as replacing the cribs, it can be very difficult to deal with. You wonder what areas you will have to cut to meet these new regulations. With this grant, that worry was taken away from us,” said Rebecca Filion, director. “The furniture and renovations are a bonus. We are thrilled that this opportunity was available for us and would like to thank Tammy Poirier for helping make this grant a reality.”

“The UPS Foundation is committed to funding impactful programs that make a meaningful difference in our communities, so we are proud to support the Champlain Children’s Learning Center’s efforts to continue providing high-quality child care for children of all ages,” said Ken Sternad, president of the UPS Foundation.

Travel program

SARANAC — There will be an informational meeting for community members and students interested in traveling to Costa Rica with EF Tours in the spring of 2013.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Nov. 8, at the Saranac Senior High School LGI Room.

Northern Tier Global Education Ambassador Maria Bagneschi from Ticonderoga High School will share her many years of travel experience and allow for a question-and-answer session.

For more information, visit

Rating earned

PLATTSBURGH — The prescription drug plan BlueCross BlueShield Rx PDP is one of four stand-alone Medicare Part D plans in the nation and the only such plan in New York state with the highest quality star rating from the federal government for 2013.

BlueCross BlueShield Rx PDP is offered locally and throughout the state by New York’s independent Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. The prescription drug plan is administered by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in cooperation with Empire BlueCross BlueShield, Empire BlueCross, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and BlueShield of Northeastern New York.

BlueCross BlueShield Rx PDP will provide drug coverage for Medicare-eligible individuals in New York state who are eligible for Medicare Part A (hospital coverage) and/or enrolled in Medicare Part B (physician and medical coverage).

Medicare Part D plans have emerged as a popular option for adults age 65 and older, with nine out of 10 seniors satisfied with these plans, according to a Medicare Today survey.

CMS rates standalone Part D plans on a variety of measures including customer service, member complaints, responsiveness and medication adherence. The ratings were posted to the Medicare website to help beneficiaries select the best drug plan. Beneficiaries will see the star ratings when using Medicare’s Plan Finder at

For more information, go to The full report, which evaluated 87 standalone Part D plans, is available on the CMS website,

Resort honored

LAKE PLACID — The readers of Conde Nast Traveler have named Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa as the number one resort in the Northeast.

In its rating of the 20 best properties in the region, the AAA-rated Four Diamond resort, and accompanying Four Diamond restaurant, The View, on the shores of Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, received the highest honors.

The Lake Placid Lodge and Whiteface Lodge also ranked in the top five among the respondents.

The magazine’s Readers’ Choice Rating scored the Mirror Lake Inn at 94 out of 100 points. The listing is found in Conde Nast Traveler’s Best in the World issue, soon to appear on newsstands.

“This endorsement by our guests is both humbling and gives us an uplifting measure of pride in what the Mirror Lake Inn brand is all about,” said owner Ed Weibrecht. “The readers of Conde Nast Traveler are the most discerning guests and have an eye for detail, hospitality and service. This means that our employees continue to do a wonderful job in making guests feel as if they are at home.”

Nearly 29,000 responded to the Conde Nast Traveler query, which included judging categories of rooms, service, food, design, activities and location.

Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa’s overall reader rating of 94 placed it ahead of such iconic properties as the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Fla.; Four Seasons in Vail, Colo.; The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Calif.; the Fairmont Chateau in Whistler, B.C.; the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City; Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah; The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Stowe Mountain Lodge in Stowe, Vt.; Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt.; Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vt.; Little Nell in Aspen, Colo.; the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, Colo.; and Montage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah.